Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you all at this important event. The yearly observation of Kashmir Black Day serves as a reminder about one of the “original sins” of the United Nations, namely the failure to resolve this long-running conflict that’s been a stain on the global consciousness for over seven decades already. The issue is more important than ever following India’s de-facto annexation of this UNSC-recognized disputed region in early August, which has seen the occupying forces cut off all communication to and from the Valley and thus place millions of innocent civilians in an ongoing state of lockdown that violates every single norm of modern-day society and decency. Even worse, it’s given rise to fears that basic services aren’t being provided to the population, therefore causing worry that an enormous humanitarian crisis is unfolding that could ultimately result in ethnic cleansing and even genocide.
Everyone here is already acutely aware of this, and that’s why it’s our responsibility to spread the message of the Kashmiri people to the rest of the world that they demand that the UNSC’s resolutions on the future status of their disputed homeland be immediately implemented by India in order to end their incessant suffering as soon as possible. We can do that by talking to our family and friends, as well as through more direct activist methods such as legally organizing rallies in their support wherever possible and holding academic conferences to discuss their deteriorating humanitarian situation and its international political consequences. Furthermore, it might be a good idea to consider whether the Pakistani missions abroad can reach out to local media in their host country and inquire whether they’d be interested in publishing the testimonies of Kashmiris and their diaspora on this fateful day in order to ensure that more people become aware of what happened, why, and what is to be done directly from some of India’s many victims themselves.
India has upped the ante after its de-facto annexation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir, thus throwing the disputed region into an ever-worsening crisis, so it’s incumbent upon all of us to do our part to the best of our ability to raise awareness about this pressing issue. Whether that’s through the holding of somber events such as this one that brought us all here together today, convening conferences about the humanitarian and international political implications of this tragedy, and/or encouraging the media to report on the testimonies of those who have survived the atrocious conditions of their occupation, all of us have the moral responsibility to do what we can to help. While the situation is becoming desperate and looking increasingly dim, we mustn’t lose hope that a better future is possible for the Kashmiris, and that our collective efforts at pressuring the international community to finally do something of tangible significance about this will eventually be successful.
Originally published on One World